HUNTERSVILLE – Championship soccer teams are often built from the back. Lake Norman Charter’s state title team, anchored by goalkeeper Carolyn Huddy, followed that strategy flawlessly.

Huddy, the Herald Weekly Girls Soccer Player of the Year, backstopped the Knights to their first state championship and an 18-3 record.

“As a keeper, you can make a game-winning save, but you can also mess up and it results in an (opposition) goal,” said Huddy, a senior. “It is blown out of proportion. I think it’s more of a mental position. You have to stay with it. I try to be a coach on the field.”

Huddy’s reflexes and experience made it difficult for foes to score. So did having three senior teammates as defenders. The group has played together three varsity seasons.

“We were pretty close,” Huddy said.

They also were stingy. Huddy was in net for 15 shutouts, including four in the first four rounds of the N.C. 1A playoffs. She allowed only nine goals in 22 games and had a 0.60 goals-against average.

Huddy didn’t allow any goals in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference games. Lake Norman Charter went 12-0 to win the conference title for the second straight year.

“There weren’t really any challenging games in conference, so I tried to work on improving my communication, even in the playoffs,” she said.

Huddy, who signed with UNC Wilmington, was among the 18 players picked to play in the N.C. Clash of the Carolinas all-star game. She was named to all-conference, all-region and all-state teams.

“Carolyn is not only a leader, but sets the bar high for all others on the team,” Lake Norman Charter coach Justin Valenti said. “She is a coach on the field and keeps us in close games. She gets the team prepared for games and creates a safety net for the team by her overwhelming effort in goal.”